Over the last 5 years there have been 25 Academy Award nominees in the Live Action Short category, whilst some of the nominees and winners were female producers, only two of them have been female directors and neither won. Perhaps this year that could change as these magnificent films enter the Oscar race! With subjects from body shaming, to female abduction and dementia, these films could easily catch Academy Voters eyes!
The Confirmation – Directed by Marie-Louise Damgaard
It’s the big day of Mathias’ confirmation. The Danish tradition where young people say yes to being a Christian and enter adulthood. Mathias is transgender and just wants to be a normal teenage boy. His mother does everything to protect him, but who is this day really about?
Actor/Director Marie-Louise Damgaard studied acting at the prestige’s Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, in New York, going on to act in several films. After taking Anna Emma Haudal’s script writing course, she wrote her first manuscript The Confirmation (Danish title: Konfirmanden). She reached out to Kim Magnusson, of M&M Productions, who saw potential in her story and decided to take a chance on a first-time writer and director. Since Marie-Louise’s debut on the other side camera, she has gone on to do several other projects; both as a director and 1stAD and she’s currently working on a few other projects both with Kim and on her own.
Piggy – Directed by Carlota Pereda
Sara is an overweight teen that lives in the shadow of a clique of cool girls holidaying in her village. Not even her childhood friend, Claudia, defends her when she’s bullied at the local pool in front of an unknown man. Her clothes are stolen and Sara must get home wearing nothing but her bikini. The long walk home will mark the rest of her life.
Writer/director Carlota Pereda has spent her career working in television. She has been a screenwriter and script supervisor for series such as Periodistas and Motivos Personales, has directed series, Acacias 38, El secreto de Puente Viejo, LEX and Lalola and has worked as realizadora on series such as Los Hombres de Paco, Red Eagle, Luna, the Mystery of Calenda and B&b, de boca en boca, for which she got an Iris nomination. Her first short, Las Rubias (The Blondes) was selected in over 141 festivals worldwide. Carlota was selected to be part of the Focus CoPro at Cannes Film Festival and won the Pop Up Residency. There Will be Monsters is her upcoming short and third film.
Sin Cielo – Directed by Jianna Maarten
A young boy in a Mexican border town hustles any way he can to help his family but learns some very cruel realities when the girl he likes disappears. Based on true stories from La Frontera.
Jianna Maarten got her degrees in Storytelling as a Director at the American Film Institute’s Conservatory program and in Columbia university’s prestigious Creative Writing program. Maarten was nominated by the Atlanta Film Festival as a Filmmaker to Watch. Whether they be Sci-Fi, horror, drama, or Satirical, Maarten enjoys building complex multi-layered worlds firmly rooted in reality through the characters who inhabit them.
Just Me and You – Directed by Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers
8-year-old Eva and her father go to Mexico aboard an 18-wheeler. What was supposed to be a father-daughter road trip becomes an eye opening experience and an unexpected journey of deception.
Director Sandrine Brodeur-Desrosiers received a BFA in Film Production from Concordia University and an MFA in Acting from the Drama Centre in London. She wrote and directed over 15 shorts that were screened around the world. Sandrine also had the chance to do an internship with Denis Villeneuve on Incendies and be Daniel Roby’s personal assistant on his film Louis Cyr. Now she is working on her two first features Les éphémères and Pas d’chicane dans ma cabane.
Any Wednesday – Directed by Allie Light
An octogenarian with dementia meets a PTSD afflicted homeless vet after choir practice and gives him a ride instead of going home. Separated by age, race, class, and even diagnoses, the two bond in their frail humanity.
Allie Light is an Academy Award® and Emmy Award winner whose credits include: In the Shadow of the Stars, (Academy Award); Dialogues With Madwomen, (Emmy; Freedom of Expression Award, Sundance Film Festival); Rachel’s Daughters: Searching for the Causes of Breast Cancer, (HBO) and 15 other documentaries. Any Wednesday is her first narrative film.
Nine Steps – Directed by Marisa Crespo
7-year-old Saul just needs 9 steps to show his father that he is a real man. Because real men are not afraid of the dark.
Co-directors Marisa Crespo and Moisés Romera are both scriptwriters and producers whose short films have won over 300 awards. Their work focuses on dysfunctional family relationships and social problems, which is why a few of their films such as Sirenito, Mammies & Daddies and A Better Place has been used for years as didactic material in educational centres and universities. Marisa and Moisés collaborated on the series Villa Bresquilla and on the TV movie of the same name, which was produced by Canal9. In 2018, Crespo and Romera premiered 9 steps and it won over 130 awards and nominations including the Méliès d’Argent Award for Best European Short Film and the Goya Nomination for Best Fiction Short Film 2019.
Marriage Material – Directed by Oran Zegman
After her boyfriend rejects her marriage proposal, Leah checks herself into the ‘Late Blooming Bride’ retreat; which re-packages women into “Marriage Material” at all costs in order to perfect them for their ideal partners.
Writer/Director Oran Zegman graduated from Beit-Zvi, School for the Performing Arts in Israel and went on to act in numerous shows. She then graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory with an M.F.A. in Directing. Her thesis film, Marriage Material, was the first Musical film to ever be made at AFI. The strong response to Marriage Material has landed the short as a musical series now in development at Quibi with Zegman co-writing and directing and The Chernin Company and Endeavor
Brotherhood – Directed by Meryam Joobeur
Mohamed is deeply shaken and suspicious when his estranged eldest son Malek returns home from Syria to rural Tunisia with a mysterious young wife in tow. The emotional complexities of a family reunion and past wounds lead to tragic consequences.
Award winning writer/director Meryam Joobeur uses her multicultural- Tunisian, American and Quebecer – perspective in Brotherhood to explore the widespread ramifications of the Islamic State on even the most remote areas of the world. Her previous films include the 2012 documentary short Gods, Weeds & Revolutions and 2017’s live action short Born in the Maelstrom, starring Sasha Lane.
Missing a Note – Directed by Beth Moran
As schoolgirl and aspiring singer Molly Groves performs before retired opera legend, John O’Connell, in hope he will write her a good scholarship report, John’s now diminishing memory means Molly is in for a few puzzling surprises.
Beth Moran trained at the National Film and Television School and has been working with Fact Not Fiction Films since early 2015. She has worked on a variety of films all over the world including The Frontier: Ukraine, a documentary exploring the human cost of the conflict in Ukraine, Lucy: Breaking the Silence, a documentary looking at mental health in young adults and The Residency, a documentary about five emerging artists from the UK’s leading art establishments. Since 2016, Beth has been co-directing the feature-length investigative documentary Everybody Flies, about the air quality on airplanes.
The film stars Ian McElhinney, Elaine Paige OBE and Darcy Jacobs.
My Time – Directed by Giulia Gandini
A 12-year-old girl has her first period right before she has a presentation in front of her entire class.
Director Giulia Gandini received her post-graduate in Directing from London’s MET Film School. Her short films have gone viral, premiered at the UN Women headquarters in New York and screened at numerous high-profile film festivals. She is in pre-production on a short documentary supported by BFI Future Film and the UN and is writing a new fiction short film script about girls in sports called Runner. Gandini loves creating coming-of-age stories starring young female leads.
Good luck to all these talented women, we are sure of you will take home that gold!